I perhaps should not be surprised that Ceor managed to find the best baker in town, and then purchase ALL THE PASTRIES.
Miaako and I went down to breakfast first, though Miaako seemed rather preoccupied with the barmaid, though I didn’t pay her much mind. At least until she asked my name and then suddenly hugged me.
She’s lucky I didn’t respond in my usual way.
She claimed her name was Talrisa, and that she was my sister. She showed me a picture of what could have been me as a child, and her as a child. There were also two people she said were our parents, and two others I vaguely remembered as the ones who abandoned me. Our aunt and uncle, apparently. It sounds insane, but I think I believe her. Or at least, I believe she believes that. According to her, our parents died when a plague came through, and then our aunt and uncle did the same a few years ago.
Pity. I would like to express my displeasure.
Apparently my father always wanted to be a wizard, and would be so proud of me. I really do wonder.
Talrisa seemed to have manifested magical abilities as well, although hers is more innate than my own.
She said that they’d heard the rumors of the strange behavior of the Flame of Mavros, and was able to elaborate a little. The Flame seems to be flickering into an arch, with a cave on the other side, though it never lasts more than a moment or two. The priests of Mavros have been gathering, though they seem to be as baffled as everyone else.
She offered to take me to see what little was left of the small legacy our parents had been left, as well as their graves. Apparently, our aunt and uncle had frittered away the rest, and lost the family shop.
I am academically wondering if I can afford to buy it.
Her home had seen better days, and she was only living in a few rooms. Modest library, but I suppose she can’t afford much. There were more paintings of the family, and I somehow think our aunt and uncle never smiled. And apparently, my aunt was at least a follower of the Order of the Pure. That’s where most of the money went, apparently. My room was still intact, though someone had carved the symbol of the Order of the Pure on the door. No guesses as to who. There was a small wooden doll I very vaguely remember. Cute and wholly inappropriate of course.
It was uncomfortable and unsettling. I imagine the same for her as well.
She showed me what used to be the family shop, a small apothecary/herbalist’s shop. It’s been taken care of, though I can’t imagine it’s turning much of a profit. No potions at all. According to Talrisa, they’re nice enough people, if a little dim and somewhat strange. I need to think about that.
The path to the cemetery wasn’t very well used, and the place itself was fenced with silver and cold iron. Only reasonable precautions in this part of the world. Found the names; my father and mother were Tallan and Alrissa, while my aunt and uncle were named Marika and Sandol. I didn’t really feel anything about them, beyond the irritation of not having filled the latter two.
This was the point where I decided to get my own estimation of the owners of the shop. The woman seemed a little vague, though Talrisia seemed shy about it. The shop was much as I expected. There were manuals about the wonders of natural medicine, all of which were written by someone with only the vaguest sense of literacy and no idea whatsoever about the actual properties of plants. My alchemy teacher is spinning in his grave right now. I almost wanted to set the place on fire just to spare everyone the embarassment.
The woman seemed nice enough, though clearly a few candles short of a chandelier. She told me that they want 1200 gold to sell the shop, but that price is good only for Talrisa… which I think I approve of. With that much, they would probably retire… she wants to open a little bake shop. Apparently, she’s a pretty good baker… her bread won an award. From dwarves. For improvised weapons. Apparently, it’s still on display. Her cakes are apparently pretty good though. Her husband just wants to go fishing. They seem to be nice enough, though they clearly smoke some of the things they gather.
I returned to the tavern with Talrisa in tow, to find my friends at the bar with several tankards and Reeshka chewing on a mug. Miaako was utterly smashed and Ceor was tipsy. Apparently the local ale is made with some berries native to the Wastes.
Note to self, do not drink this shit, nothing good will come of it.
Apparently, the unsafe alcohol tends to make tentacles appear. They have a pond. It’s apparently the way the bartender gets rid of people he doesn’t like.
I wonder how that works out. Miaako was rambling about how he’s a dolphin. Fascinating, really. I wish I had a way to program a Magic Mouth with this, it would be splendid to see his face when he’s sober and hears this.
The bartender offered me a drink, but they really don’t want me drunk, not on this stuff. Even if they have the place warded. Though as the barteder put it, if someone was going to be capable of mass destruction when they were drunk, it would be here. He offered me some of the non-alcoholic stuff; it tasted like I imagine pure magic would. Interesting berries. They grow near the borders, and apparently north of the Flame. I can only hope the others are too drunk to remember this later.
Miaako was incapacitated by this point, of course, so Talrisa threw him into the pond to sober him up. It was highly entertaining. It sobered him right up, but the indignant squawk was impressive. Talrisa did the same for Reeshka, but Ceor was too big to haul out.
Who knew they could get firedrake steak here? Reeshka immediately claimed it, of course. She was a little surprised to find out how spicy it was. Ceor had arranged the meal, and included Talrisa. Stupid sentimental fool.
I think I might keep him.
I decided to give Talrisa the money to buy the shop. It’s obvious that the people who have it now are just wasting the space. They won’t even rent the alchemical equipment they can’t use, for fear that someone will break it. Talrisa could manage it by herself- and be unlikely to poison someone accidentally. Talrisa… well, she tackle hugged me to the ground and I set a chair on fire.
No one particularly noticed.
She was in an obscenely good mood the next day, though at least she didn’t tackle me off the chair this time. She’d also put my name on the deed as well.
This is a strange and unusual feeling and I don’t know what it means.
We decided to spend some time preparing; with Reeshka’s help I made some Cure Moderat Wounds potions, and we divided up some of the Alchemist’s Fire I still had. Talrisa let me use the alchemy lab, of course. And since she actually knew what she was doing and was working when I wasn’t, she was able to get the stock back up to something respectable. Between us, we actually managed to make the same thing in a week that the previous owners did in a month.
She’ll be all right.
I did burn all those goddamned awful books. And most of the stock they left, since it was worse than useless for a proper alchemical shop. It was satisfying.
Miaako spent most of the week drinking; he gathered quite a following. He likes to think it was for his stories, but it was really because he’s just a really entertaining drunk. They were fans of the dolphin bird. Reeshka even decided to help Talrisa make some lesser healing potions in exchange for a cut of the profits.
But, eventually, we did have to continue on.
My god, the Goblin Wastes are ugly.
And we could clearly tell why it was called the Bone Road. Lined with skulls. That doesn’t really leave much to the imagination. The weather almost visibly changed as we headed north, in a needlessly dramatic fashion. There was something on the horizon that almost looked like mountains… but they weren’t. They were immense creatures.
The Great Old Ones, frozen in time.
At least none of them lay between us and the Flame of Mavros. Followers of Mavros are crazy… but not that crazy, and they built the road.
It was about midday when the sky turned yellow. We caught up with another group on the road, a squad of humans armed with swords and chainmail, escorting a single dwarf. Reeshka bristled, predictably.
I caught a good look as we passed; the dwarf looked like the one I’d seen in my dreams, of the dwarf looking into the orb of souls. He seemed to be ignoring us; I am inclined to not waste resources on things not inclined to fuck us up when there are so many things that do want to fuck us up. His six men were well armed, though he wasn’t. He did have what looked like a crude doll on a string around his neck. I’ve heard there are some witches that specialize in necromancy, and instead of a familiar, they use a little idol or fetish made out of hair and skin and nail clippings.
Noooooot really the sort of people one would want to mess with.
That was about the time Reeshka almost fell off the mule. She seemed to recognize the dwarf…
I don’t particularly want to start anything right now, it’s probably best that we kept going.